There were two stops this day. The first was somewhere between Jaipur and Agra. Abhaneri was a 30-minute pit stop that time travelled our little tour bus back 1000 years. The village itself looked like a step back to medieval times if not earlier. There are no paved roads in these villages, and the dust that settles everywhere creates an ancient aura to this seemingly cow dung-caked town.
The Chand Baori (step well) is a carved marvel, flanked by squawking parakeets and the occasional monkey. Even 2 weeks into my trip to India, it still astounds me that even common utilities like this well were so intricately-carved, with decoration and images of every Hindu deity imaginable; prayers going out for health, wealth, water and prosperity. This is a farming community after all; the deities still revered even though Muslim factions decimated the temple and the images of the gods here centuries ago.
Onwards, towards Agra, to the city of Amber (Amer).
I’m learning as I visit the palaces and fortresses throughout Rajasthan, the Rajput royal families lived in quite grand fashion. So the Amber Fort did not disappoint. Smaller than Kumbhalgarh, yet larger than the Red Fort that was on the itinerary for Agra, this castle-cum-palace-cum-fortress boasted double moats (for crocodiles, then hungry tigers, should an intruder get through…) Amer Fort, as it is called, has 4 courtyards…each slightly higher into the clouds, and from each a view of the pink city below. More terra cotta than pink, the view is a step back in time almost 1000 years. Semi-ruins sit beside newer mud and clay and more cow dung structures, and life is carried out as if it were still 1433. Here, I really do think the pictures do the site justice.